The bright lights of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino will play host to a UFC event where the injury curse has come in waves as the main event has been changed for the third time as BJ Penn and Nick Diaz will battle for welterweight supremacy.
George Roop vs. Hatsu Hioki
Hatsu Hioki is the great hope of Japan as he could be the one fighter who ends the drought of Japanese victories in the Octagon. George Roop’s win one, lose one record suggests he is the perfect debut showcase opponent as he won his last fight in June which means he is ripe for a fall. Hioki is Zuffa’s biggest featherweight acquisition since the division was brought into the promotion. The former Shooto Lightweight has finished 12 of his 24 victims by submission. Roop while he may not be the most technically proficient striker, he uses his reach better than most and fights with a lot of heart. Hioki uses a great deal of strength with his wrestling and grappling ability to take fighters down which does not bode well for Roop with his tall and lanky frame.
Prediction: Hatsu Hioki by submission in the second round.
Jeff Curran vs. Scott Jorgensen
I’m not expecting too much out of this fight. Jeff Curran is a Jiu-Jitsu fighter with almost 14 years of experience who will do well against average fighters but garners the opposite results against anyone who above said standard. Scott Jorgensen is an explosive athlete who mixes his wrestling and punches and has cardio to go for days. Curran starts off strong but fades as the fight goes on. I believe Jorgensen’s will use his wrestling to take Curran down and score some critical shots with the ground and pound.
Prediction: Scott Jorgensen by unanimous decision.
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson
The fall of Mirko Cro Cop could be upon us as the one time more dangerous striker in the sport doesn’t look like he wants to be in the cage in recent outings. Roy Nelson has looked terrible in his two fights against Junior Dos Santos and Frank Mir. Likewise, Cro Cop previous performances have mirrored the same result. Both fighters are looking for the knock out but Nelson has a granite chin while Crop Cop folds rather quickly.
Prediction: Roy Nelson by Knock Out in the second round.
Matt Mitrione vs. Cheick Kongo
This is a fight was simply made to find out if Matt Mitrione can be a real contender in the heavyweight division. Cheick Kongo is a popular name whose striking ability will take anyone to task. The problem is his ground game hasn’t since he evolved or improved since he made his UFC debut in 2006. Mitrione’s striking has improved with each outing but is still behind a few levels in the accuracy behind Kongo. Mitrione is good at mixing punches and takedowns which is a skill that doesn’t exist in Kongo’s arsenal. Bottom line, Meathead‘s overall game will be enough to earn the ‘W”
Prediction: Matt Mitrione by decision
BJ Penn vs. Nick Diaz
BJ Penn and Nick Diaz were originally scheduled to fight different opponents. A poor choice by Diaz led to him losing his championship shot against GSP. Now, this main event fight will determine who stays relevant in the division. BJ Penn has lost twice to GSP and Diaz is riding a 10 fight win streak win streak who won these bouts with his boxing ability and using his reach. Diaz punches don’t look like they hurt but his accuracy is what wears his opponents down. Wrestling is Diaz’s Kryptonite and the last 10 fighters he fought did not have the ability to take him down. BJ Penn does, but will he? BJ loves to go for the knockout and uses his wrestling when he realizes he can’t find the KO. Diaz is always in good shape while BJ’s cardio is questionable. Diaz will use his reach to keep Penn at bay while Penn will have to get inside and connect to the chin since he has a lot more power than Diaz. Both fighters have world class a Jiu-Jitsu and will most likely cancel each other out in that department.
Prediction: BJ Penn via decision.